By Christian Nicolini, AmateurGolf.com
TaylorMade has introduced the new SLDR S
driver for the summer but unlike other models
introduced to the market
in recent memory, the brand hasn’t re-written
the rules for what the club should do. Instead,
to improve a key attribute to the club.
The brand replaced the adjustable loft with a
fixed loft to offer a high performance club at a
more affordable price.
The SLDR S driver comes in four loft options:
10°, 12°, 14°, 16°.
There are a lot of similarities in the SLDR and
SLDR S. The head design, weighting
technology and shaft remain the
same. In fact, outside of the silver-satin finish
and fixed loft, the SLDR S is a solid replica of
the original. I took
both clubs to task in a simulator to see if I
could find any differences in feel, weight,
sound, or performance.
After hitting both drivers, I have to say that,
from a cosmetic standpoint the SLDR S driver
looked sharper with the
silver finish and black face combination. Other
than those slight changes, both drivers looked
I’ve been a fan of the SLDR ever since it was
released mainly because of the soft feel at
impact. For whatever
reason, I found that the SLDR S had a firmer
feel than the SLDR -- most notably on off-
center hits. Both drivers
still feel good -- and are softer than the
brand’s R series drivers.
Before I started testing, I thought the SLDR S
would feel a tad lighter since it lacked the
bulkier adjustable hosel.
However, both the SLDR and SLDR S have an
identical feel while swinging.
I wasn’t very pleased to find out that the SLDR
S driver only went as low as 10° in loft, but
after a couple swings,
my attitude changed. I compared a 10° SLDR
vs. 10° SLDR S, both with a stiff Fujikura
Speeder 57 shaft.
During my test I took 15 shots with each club
and picked the top 10 from each and compared
Avg. Club speed (mph): 112
Avg. Ball Speed (mph): 164
Spin Rate (rpm): 2705
Carry (yds): 271
Total Distance (yds): 291
Avg. Club speed (mph): 113.5
Avg. Ball Speed (mph): 166
Spin Rate (rpm): 2870
Carry (yds): 276
Total Distance (yds): 290
Both drivers performed nearly identical. For
whatever reason, my swing speed was a little
faster with the SLDR S
than with the SLDR even though both drivers
share nearly identical specs. As a result, the
ball speed of the SLDR S
was slightly higher, along with the launch, spin
rate and carry distance.
PROS & CONS:
The SLDR S has a very sleek and appealing
design. By switching to a fixed loft, the
$399.99 of the SLDR shrinks
down to a more affordable $329.99
Surprisingly the SLDR S had a firmer feel at
impact which was more noticeable on off
center hits compared to the